Monday, August 29, 2005

Whats not at all cool in Melbourne

I skimmed this one off the artlife blog.

Look, giggle and go back to my posting in defence of the Dilettante.

Diary entries for this week:

Tomorrow: Art in Life - Set in the stunning surrounds of the iconic operahouse forecourt this promises to be the best publicly funded spectacle to hit Sydney since Leo Schofield lit up the whole thing in ROUGE. Go down to Circular Quay to witness the performance by a large group of well trained well coordinated performance artists as they round up and beat the living shit out of public volunteers. Opera House forecourt, 5.30-7.30pm. Matinee performances on at lunchtime wednesday .

If bloodsports ain't your cup of tea - then be aware that YOU are invited to attend the opening of "DISLOCATION" 6-8pm Tuesday 30 August at Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St. Paddington.

Afterwards stagger down to the Hollywood Hotel in Commonwealth Street Darling it hurts. Simon Barney's (no relation to Mathew or Matrin Sastre) brief case gallery- still battling on after the bomb prank by Micky & Lucas a couple of years ago - is small art is in a briefcase in the bar so don't spill yer beers.

Wednesday - The Lempriere. I've raved previously. If you can decipher the cryptic information below - this may mean something is on at Firstdraft Gallery the same night.

Opening night drinks: Wednesday August 2005 6-8pm Exhibition open: Wednesday May 18 to Saturday September 17 2005 Firstdraft opening hours: Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm

the above 2 line riposte followed a looooooooong couple of press releases all jammed together. Is ian millis playing tricks on me again - or do the current FD directors get a year 8 work experience kid in to do their written material?

These guys need SERIOUS REMEDIAL WRITING LESSONS. Sorry to bag youse but youse GET FUNDED. But I know the nature of bureaucrats and productivity so I'll spell it out here for free:
Floorsheets: Have title, artist, medium, dimensions and a number corresponding to a number on the wall or floor or plinth near the work - or on a label in same proximity.
Press releases: Have DATES, (Day, day number, month), times, venue, names of artists gallery address. All other info is optional. The KISS principal works best.

Vignets like "TOUGH NUGGETS is the physical remnants of an excitedly anticipated moment. For all its excess and painful attempts, it shall pass, a joyous flutter through the wet cheeks of history." just look insanely pompous when the basics ain't right.

Next Thursday - Primavera at MCA- sorry but the opening is STRICTLY invite only. And there's less cash up for grabs than the Lempriere. Still, Belinda Jackson's parents have gotta be saluted. And you can do it daytime for free - thanks to Telstra. (glad to know all those expensive landline charges are going somewhere)

No wukkas if you miss the primavera coz you can come over to My Ricky Vee Yeah for a Tres nice space doing tres nice stuff : S.N.O. New Artists Association and Project Space in Marrickville has a show opening on Thursday the 1st ofSeptember at 6pm .

The organisors of the SNO project in Marrickville are proud to announce thearrival of the internationally renowned installation artist and painterTilman, from Brussels, Belgium. Tilmans¹ art will be introduced for thefirst time to the Australian public by showing a site specific workconceived for the SNO showroom.

Tilman will becollaborating on this project with the Australian artist Kyle Jenkins whohas recently appointed head of Painting at USQ, Queensland. These artistsbecame friends through their participation in various group exhibitions heldin Los Angeles (2003), New York (2004), also Paris and Brussels (2005). Theyare aiming to produce a new work made here in Marrickville based on howcolour or light may be uniquely perceived as, ³Ða structural¹ orarchitectural element². As the artist further explains, ³Ðsince my earlyexperiments in photography in the late 1970s, the investigation of theelement of light has been the primary focus of my artistic practice. Theworks may be understood as a carrier, a mediator of light in its physicalquality².All are invited to attend the opening, there will also be informal drinks

Friday - the apparently invite only show for the $25,000 young painters prize is at the Brett Whitely Studio in the unfortunately named Raper street in surry hills. The whitely prize has produced such luminaries as Ben Quilty, Alan Jones (no relation to any shockjocks) as winners with Luke Scibberras and Craig Waddell, regularly featuring as finalists in their youf. Girls do get a look in at the Whitely - and even win regularly - but seem to slip into anonymity afterwards - proving that the art world still has its corners of old school gender divides. You can see the work of one unsung whitely winner on Saturday.........

Saturday - Petrea Fellows at Addison Road Gallery. 5 - 8pm. I forgot to plug this one (WHERE IS MY BRAIN???) . Petrea won the whitely in 2001 - and did a whole series of exsquisite etchings while at the cite. She's brought them here and finally put them on show. Check out for a preview.

Coming up next week.

I will play an interview with Dimitri Vilensky - in an effort to plug the disobedience show - which opens next friday at the Ivan Dougherty gallery at COFA. (i think i made it sound like THIS friday at Dougherty - I'm sorry).

(Dmirty Vilensky is a video and installation artist who is involved in an art/theory/activism collective called What is to be Done?. For moreinformation go to He was involved in the Russian andEuropean Social forum and is coming to Australia to participate in theSydney Social Forum.)

Check out the line up - which should offer a punchy riposte to "situation" (May dear debord turn in his grave) at the MCA............ ( oh god - recuperation. Its a tricky one ain't it?

8 September – 15 October
This is an exhibition of local and overseas artists who have critically
engaged with the process of corporate globalisation and supported the
global justice movement. It will follow the Sydney Social Forum, and will
be accompanied by a discussion/workshop, a film showing, and artists’
talks. Contributors include: Beluchi Weavers, Alexander Brener, Kendell
Geers, Michael Goldberg, Shilpa Gupta, Raquel Ormella, Dean Sewell,
Squatspace, Dmitry Vilensky, Ilaria Vanni, Susann Victor.
Curators: Zanny Begg and David McNeill

Don't forget next Thursday, Friday and Saturday - you can go to Performance Space for the visual spatial aural experience of Banalities for the Perfect house. I'd recommend thursday. It costs $10 but if yer broke and keen we'll do a giveaway on the program next week.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wots Hot in Sydney

Contrary to my previous plg - of not wanting to become some sort of arbiter of cool - I am forwarding some info on the official ubercool megabuck prize for the latest hip youf art happening types.
Yep! its the Helene Lempriere . Properly pronounced Lom Pri Yeah, or Lame Prix Yeah by disgruntled anti conceptual types, or Lamp Ray by Lazy bastards such as Moi, the prize cash is $40,000.

Its bigger than the whitely, and not far off the Moran or theArchibald.
Further more it has the cache of being uber cool - and is approp[riately situated in Artspace.

So if you wanna see who and what the big punters reckon is really hapeening then breeze on down to wolloomoloo on Wednesday Night. Grab a pie and stroll accross the road to the gunnery. Hope the goon is good.

The judges this year - are pretty nice - Rosemary (flying brides) Laing and Euan (Skinny Men & chunky grey paint) McLeod plus Tony Bond to lend the Agnes Wales art institutional cred.

The lineup looks pretyt good - with Most names and works being regulars on the ARI circuit. Whoever wins - it is always UNFAIR. Bloody hell! $40,000! Do you know what I could do with that?????? On the other hand - if you're gonna score a shitload of cash then its probably better to do so when you've got nothing to start with.........

Official Details follow.


zehra AHMED
zanny BEGG
lauren BRINCAT & william FRENCH
simon COOPER

nicholas FOLLAND

kirsten FARRELL
hayden FOWLER
marita FRASER

david GRIGGS
owen LEONG

damien MARCH

vanila NETTO

Ms & Mr
huseyin SAMI
aaron SEETO

mimi TONG
matthew TUMBERS

simon YATES

Owen Leong
The 2005 recipient will be announced by

Curator, 2006 Biennale of Sydney
Jess MacNeil
The judges for the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship 2005 are

Anthony Bond, General Manager, Curatorial Services, AGNSW
Rosemary Laing, Sydney-based artist
Euan Macleod, NSW-based artist.

Banalities for the Perfect House

Here's the details of the show I'll get Ruark in (eventually) to plug in person.

A new performance installation by
Ruark Lewis & Rainer Linz about living more lightly
in the city and suburbs

8, 9, 10 September 8pm @ Performance Space

In Banalities for the Perfect House Ruark Lewis and Rainer Linz take a hammer to the dominant gridlines of the city and suburbs and smash down the entombment of conventional chamber theatre and music. They break through the constraints of spoken word, nail down the sound of the computer and it's network, and employ the carpentry of song lines to create an immersive environment of sound and installation.

Taking apart the concept of poetry readings and music recitals, visual and performance artist Ruark Lewis, in collaboration with Melbourne based composer Rainer Linz, use sound, noise and synesthetic transcription to build the perfect house for an imperfect world.

Poetry is stencilled on beams of wood that scale the walls of the theatre and timber frames hang suspended from the ceiling representing the framework of a house. The audience are invited to wander through the installation as Linz and Lewis perform, sample sound and project imagery from six stations throughout the space.

Banalities for the Perfect House is part 4 in the Who’s Afraid of the Avant-Garde? installation and performance series curated by Blair French. Each project presents work that engages with avant-gardism in manners suggesting its reinscription as a paradigm for art and social action in the 21st century.

RUARK LEWIS is a Sydney-based artist and writer who works closely with text and image relationships through installation, painting, artist-books, site-specific commissions and performance. He has exhibited and performed widely in Australia, the UK and Europe. His permanent installation Relay (with Paul Carter) is situated at Sydney Olympic Park. His publications include Depth of Translation: The Book of Raft’(with Paul Carter), Just for Nothing (with Nathalie Sarraute) and False Narratives.

Melbourne-based composer and sound artist RAINER LINZ has a long involvement in radio, music theatre, instrumental and electronic music. His work includes an opera as well as numerous chamber and electronic pieces intended for concert performance. He is also an author and publisher. The Oxford Companion to Music in Australia (OUP, 1999) notes "Linz's innovative and entrepreneurial work in Melbourne has been a significant factor in the city's prominence in experimental music." His recent collaborative work includes the sound installation Barcode (Graz, 1999), and the interactive gallery installation infonoise (Belgrade, 2001). . Under the title New Listener he has devised a series of computer programs where a music or sound composition can be adjusted to the listener's preference.

For more information contact Rosie Dennis at Performance Space
02 9698 7235 or,
Performance Space 199 Cleveland Street Redfern

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Not In Our Name


SPACE3 HAS IN THE PAST RAISED FUNDS FOR THE who we have mistakenly thought were the above mentioned group.






Tuesday, August 23, 2005

In Defence of the Dilettante

Because Ruark did a no-show on monday we were kind of STUCK with providing interesting or relevant material for Art & Mayhem on monday.

Never one to be deterred I pushed on - and Karen had the bright idea of asking me a question to get me blabbing. She mentioned the moral dillemma of her peers in the pub one night who thought art was self indulgent.

My riposte was that of "Of course art is self indulgent! so is masturbation! But look what happens when people don't masturbate? they become arseholes! So my advice is do it, do it badly, do it well, but do it often, just do it."

There's a deeper thought in there obscured beneath the guff. It's one that comes from my favourite literary lore - apparently about Isaac Babel (the Russian writer who had been a member of the Kossacs in the Red Army). He was up before the stalinist firing squad, accused of pety bourgeouse dilettantism - and is reply was "The right to write, is the right to write badly".

I feel this way about art - and 'Ian Millis" (bless his duchampian soul) brought this to my attention in his sweet little word play about bad flower paintings (see comments from previous post) by declaring the exhibition was a present for his Mum who was 80.

Mayhem the critic thought of the 80 year old I teach flower painting to on Tuesdays, and the other conservative, uptight, bourgeoise individuals entrusted to my aesthetic guidance on the other side of the bridge. I also thought of the amateur daubers and drawers I see regularly at the sketch clubs I attend or help organise each week. And I wondered how I could tell them about my writing, my critical views of art, my snide dismissals of whole streets of ernest exhibitors, in the same voice that I ask them to "put a bit of pale blue in that corner there - it will give that fold a bit more definition".

Ian Millis accused me of anonymity. HELLO! I give a radio program on 2SER Each week. My name is on the 2SER website. I am NOT anonymous. I don't stick up this blog as "Margaret Mayhew's Musings" because art and mayhem sounds more appealing - and it is NOT my personal diary. Hopefully its about more than me - and can promote some more of the art communities and activities in sydney, than my own admittedly very narrow range of interests. Writing is also a disguise in a way - I can and do project aspects of myself - and cerainly evoke a clear mood - which matches the typos, spoonerisms and the apellation of mayhem. Having a name - even a nom deplume is something which limits my critical freedom compared with those funboys at the art life. the essenc eof the flaneur is a type of insibility or unmarkedness. Which is why it wasn't done by many ladies in bustles back in the 19C - or why it ain't done by many sandwich board wearers in city streets today. Named, I become visible, and my viewing becomes marked and inflected by the look of the other in my viewing. Consequently I go out to less art openings than before. My liver is grateful.

Back to the point.

Jacques Delaruelle is apparently giving a talk on amaeturism and art at the Brandling street 30th anniversary exhibition. They've misspelt his name on the flyer - but its kinda cool (De La Rouel) and theres really cute cartoon of monkeys posing and drawing (whihc rmeinds me of another great bok called "the monkeys right to paint") The opening is on Saturday September 10th from 12pm. Manjam is on the same night. I'll post more information about both later on.

'Brandling Street' is a converted warehouse in Allen Lane in alexandria - but its near Brandling street in Erskineville - so hence the name. They have life drawing 5 days a week, and have done so since the mid 70's when they were located at the Sydney School of arts in Pitt Street (the current location of the arthouse hotel). Lots an lots of artists have attended Brandling street over the years - and it curiously arose as an institution at the peack of the life class as outre anachronism - back in the 70's - in the dim dark days of the post field abstractionist push.........

The above is a type of art mythology that I'm hearing again and again. Apparently life drawing and figurative painting became extremely daggy in the 1960's, in the wake of the US influence of abstract art, and then later influence of conceptual art, and performance art.

According to various horse-mouths - private sketch clubs have been the mainstay of much artistic activity throughout the history of sydney last century. Private sketch clubs on the north shore, in the rocks, haymarket acted as social nodes where artists of various persuasions could gather, draw and talk. In many ways they are comparable to jam sessions among musicians - bt often with more heterogeneous participants. There were sketch clubs for the contemporary art society, for graduates of Julian Ashton's, or East Sydney, and others comprising students, models and graduates of each. There were also sketch clubs of nuns, old men, younger men, bored housewives which as the bland sociological labels don't state - included ex students from the Bauhaus, or of Johannes Itten, as well as friends and associates of ex students from George Bell. Sketch clubs have acted as a broad network of contacts, and fanning infuences from various art movements form the 20th century. Skethc clubs have provided employment for models - but especially for many women artists -a form of introduction and graduated apprenticeship in the art world. Students and artists who couldn't be or wouldn't be supported by their families or art patrons - to attedn full time art school or devote themselves to full time practice, have found supportive envirnoment in which to gain some employment, and participate in networks of other arts, models, teachers.

The above may seem a tad scholastic, but I'm trying to provide some evidence for the importance of what may seem as peripheral, anachronistic or amateur activities - particularly in a cultural milleu as small as Sydney's (and the art scene here IS SMALL). Aside from life drawing as training, or life drawing as a practice, or life drawing as generation of some genuine soft porno kitsch - the importance of life drawing as a social and cultural activity has really played an important part in the development and sustenance of countless artists in sydney. I beleive it is in the act of coming together, and coming together to engage in a formalised cultural practice that generates the sense of cultural identity. The transmission of knowledge and experience and of providing opportunities for new experiences is a really amazing process to participate in. This is probably why I enjoy teaching art to people who I really don't care for otherwise - because it does create a bridge of visual communication and experience.

As for the art critic ......... maybe I'm not cut out for this? The hardest aspect of being a pen for hire - is dealing with the requests from countless artists to write catalogue essays. As far as I can see, the function of such pieces of writing is largely to provide an academicised gloss on the types of artworld marketting spin which promote art to the publics of buyers, competitions judges and occasionally viewers. My words are meant to give a critical cache to someones exhibition. The letters after my name can give the stamp of approval of said work as "ART", with a , postmodernist, queer, feminist, visually literate sensiblity. This is my ''specialised cultural product" as a critic.


I have written a couple of catalogue essays and 'glowing reviews' (wordy PR) for friends. Usually I've stated that the artists is a friend - to avoid any confusion about why I'm writing. If I like someone I WILL spend more time trying to engage with their work. I am not an austere accurate remote cultural barometer. Name me a critic who is, or was. The other thing I like to do - is to give readers a way to look into the work - and a framework for people to articulate their own responses to what they may see - on an invite or in a space. I do sincerely believe that art writing can function - not only to make up great stories about artists and their work - but to enable viewers to own, articulate and enjoy their own responses. this, for me, produces cultural and visual literacy.

In criticising work or exhibitions - the texts are a soft target. If I'm working with words and writing - then it makes sense to engage with the writing around an exhibition. Dodgy floorsheets, wanky catalogue essays, wordy and pretentious press releases indicate the lack of care that has gone into an exhibition, or the lack of awareness of and sensitivity to the role that text plays in framing and situating an exhibition within a cultural context.

Its hard and harsh to criticise the work of an artists. Any artist. I suspect Lucy wanted me on the show - to provide bloodsports - because canning some ugly or inept or kitsch work sounds funny and provides controversy, inrtigue and entertainment. These are all nice media fodder. However - bagging an exhibition or work - sets myself up as a type of tastemaker -and has the potential to be a silencing and disabling thing for audiences. (Like reading whats hot/what's not in trashy magazines). I don't think I am in any position ever to be an arbiter of fashion, especially in art. Art does have a strong link to the fashion cycle - and art styles come in and out. I like to name what is an 'style' and what may be linked to fashion. I don't think art should be separate from fashion - because it is too much fun as an aesthetic play to go all puritan and self denying about it. On the other hand - fashion is a good word to describe various waves of homogeneity and where and when they circulate, and its an enabling thing often to articualte why a piece may jar the eyes of a viewer - and it gives people mre infomration with which to articulate our own often conflicting responses.

The second dillemma or art criticism relates to artists. Artists - expecially ones that aren't so successful that they are permanently coked up to the eyeballs and wouldn't even notice - are not a fitting target for criticism. All artists live with failure on a daily basis. Art making IS about failing and failing and failing again, and continually failing and then occasionally getting it right. Sometimes its about getting it right and then failing all over the top of it. This is one of the reasons why a lot of artists are generally humble, humourous and interesting people, because living with so much failure has a great effect of self awareness and ego diminishment. On the other hand it also explains why a lot of artists are also twisted bitter individuals, or incredi bly depressed and fragile or rampant alcoholics. Living with failure is pretty demoralising too.

In Australia to be an artist means living in poverty, generally. In Australia the success of anything is judged in money (did you have a show? was it a success? did you sell? how much?). If someone does have a sell out show, they are lucky if they see half the proceeds. And this rearely exceeds the average salary of, say, a high school teacher. If you do succeed in these terms - then the pressure become to repicate oneself as a reliable and saleable successful product. Successful artists have less scope to fail - (unless they want to fail their dealer, their critics and their mum and dad) and so have less possibliities to experiement with the fun of making something half imagined. So for me to swan in and call something (and someone) patchy, half arsed, pretentious, bombastic or dodgy is problematic. I believe certain dealers (lets say all of them) do promote formulatic idenitifiably successful and quite possibly boring work. That's why I avoid discussing or mentioning most commercial galleries - and try to promote shows where viewers can be surprised and challenged a little, and I don't have to bite my tongue.

Art should be about constantly learning and discovering. This goes for an 80 year old or an 8 year old. It is probably exptemely hard for an 18 year old to do it "coz youf have ishooz". I also believe that 50 or 500 people doing BAD ART are more interesting than 5 masters doing mind blowing brilliance. Art works when it becomes, like music or fashion, something that people feel they can own and play with, rather that ossified brilliance glinting in the marble cube of the academy.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stupid As a Painter

Egg is apparently good for the skin. This is why wearing it on ones face is not always such a bad thing.

Last saturday night I walked into the local pub with mayonnaise smeared over my lips. It's a long story why, but even thought the locals couldn't meet my eye, my pores haven't felt this good in ages.

Look at previous post. Read comments. Then look at the URL above. slot is a nice fun sort of space i guess
Mayhem has had lots of smart slaps from bright boys that know better. Apparently mayhem ain't bright enough, witty enough or cool enough to be in with the latest jokes made by bright boys from the stable of Devonshire Street. Readers please note that attacks on university fine art departments kind of slide off this ducks back (I DON'T STUDY THERE). Also - contemporary art speak has a lot that is obfuscating, indulgent and sloppy - and always ripe for a Duchampian going over ........ but o but, it is also such a soft target, and how enalbing is it - to go round launching obscure clever attackes on obscure clever people????? (errr..... shit, that's what I do).. Besides no amount of irony changes the fact that the irises were ugly.

I'll cease my neurotic whining coz its boring even me. I just wondered how the hell they got my internal uni email address. I think I'll change my name to Currer Bell.

In the meantime - I'll get back to art. I wandered down to sherman last week - coz I was in the area. I've forgotten what I saw in the artbox. I liked the paper jewellry in the 2/3 box and John Tonkins installalatinos reminded me of a Freaky Loops party I went to about 9years ago...........

Anyway - The reason I walked in was to see Shane Cottons paintings....... I like New Zealanders generally and he managers to defy Goethe and many many others but painting black WELL. He had large painitngs of tattoo type images on various heads and other shapes - and all in bright pacific denoting acrylics. (bluey aquas). but he used black - really flat acrylic black well. Its a rare thing. the show is over so you can't see it anyay.

They've now got mel o'callaghan doing striking contemporary figuration with hilary mas doing striking contemporary minimalism and the opening is this week....thursday i think.

I also went and had a perve at Craig waddells show at Mary Place. It was early and they gallery was empty save for pru and tru and lots of paintings. My preview comments last week - were based on his previous show at Maunsell wicks which seemed to be a bit of a rushed job of chunky Ben quilty meets Frank aurbach mixture of oozing (I mean wet) heads and tractors. Lots of energy, lots of fumes and the best cheese I've ever eaten in the southern hemisphere.

I was thinking of writing some osrt of compariative piece on sculptural painting - based on a comparison between James Rogers (a sculptor painting - space) and Waddells very scultpural use of paint........

....Fortunately reality intervened on my intellectual posing plans. In short Craig has spent more time on this show and on these paintings. To be honest - I wawn't really crazy about the tractors either. I really like a couple - especially where they were more going into the landscape - but last year it seemed that everyone was doing shows on cars, trucks, trains and it was getting hard to look at each batch as something fresh and meaningful and special........

Grounded is a nice name for a body of work that appears to be lot more so. Craig has also gotten back to his strengths as a painter - in exploring the spatial qualities of a landscape and pushing them into paint. there's ot more scraping, reworking, folding and pausing. And his done delicious marks that hint at figuration - wihtout breaking up the ground too much. the catalogue essay - is worthy of a wound rebuke from the bright boy brigade but who am I to whinge. tathra mentioned "an undercurrent of depthless prussion blue". Its a scary scary pigment - but Craig's best works in this show actually have quite a bit of it swiming around - and mercifully not drowning out everything else. Maybe such big heavy marks need a big heavy pigment - coz his boats that have a lot more consolidation than his light pink landscapes. Anyway - its a nice show, thoughtful and interesting........

I wandered past NAS and rumours have it that the men of metal have found plastic.........

There is AN IMPORTNANT SHOW NOT TO BE MISSED at Space 3. Its their last fling - and true to form they are thinking of others....... and are having a fundraiser for the Reconciliation Unity Network this wednesday 24th Aug at 6.30pm. Don't let the prospect of Peter Garrett put you off.

ON a bitchier note - the Affordable Art Oxymoron starts this week. My flatmate got 2 for 1 tickets - so we'd only have to spend $9 each (after parking fees) to enter the halllowed halls of murdoch - and wander around a bunch of commmercial art stalls with a complimentary glass of goon!!!! Yippeee!!!!! Not.

The opening night costs $40.00 Yep forty golden coins to stand around in a room full of mdf with a glass of wine and listen to Ian thorpe. they even have 'entertainment'. It might be from 2Day fm. They call it "sydney's biggest night in art". yeah right. save your cash and save your liver for the lampray next week. It's free, non commercial and at artspace - so even if you hate the art there's some great pies nearby and you get water views. If you can hold your horses there's the agnes wales gala in march.

However the Forgable Art Fair is not affordeable and certainly not art. Each week in sydney you can buy interesting art for less thatn $300 - and lots and lots of stuff for under $3,000. (and yes, much of it may even end up in the Micahae Reid investment portfolio goodguide). If you are a culture vulture and cheapskate wine freak - you can even go and see most of it for free - and grab a free glass of goon or five. Sometimes you can even have a bit of cheese too. and most galleries are easier and more plesant to get to than some scary hangar dumped in tourist land. Avoid the AAF. buy a copy of art almanac - and have your own art fair every week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Words And Pictures - a postscript

Since 2SER is a radio and not a great medium for transmitting visual information - we tend to resort to a bit of a textual obsession in predicting, postmorteming and blithering about things we've heard about or seen.

This is one of the reasons why we spend some time baggin wanky or dodgy press reviews, or wafty and pretentious artists bios or exhibtion titles. When it comes to radio - the WORDS MATTER.

This probably ain't the place to explore my Derrida trips - and nayone who was mystified by my Deleuzian references to womyn being a "not very evocative of molecular becomings" PLEASE post a comment and I will please explain. Like much art, philosophy can be explained and understood, and enjoyed.
But we had an interesting quandry this week.
Karen mentioned a great press release that she received.
I've cut and pasted it below.

Chinese Whispers


This exhibition, or perhaps, this work, had its origin in something my mother said ten years ago – “You should paint flowers, people always like flowers.”

My mother paints flowers although often she is a sort of appropriation artist, painting not flowers but other artist’s paintings of flowers.

I never paint flowers but I decided I would follow her example. I copied one of her paintings, a simple painting of three calla lilies in a vase. My painting was much larger, slightly sinister in its sharpness and harsh colour. It was only later when looking through one of her books that I realised that she had herself consciously or unconsciously copied parts of a 1930s painting by Adrian Feint, a mixed bouquet of flowers in a vase. Among the flowers were three calla lilies which resembled those in her painting.

Sometime later my friend Guo Jian told me that his art teacher had said exactly the same thing to him, a piece of advice which Guo had ignored. He then painted a painting based on mine without having seen my mother's painting or the original Adrian Feint painting. His painting is the monochrome grey of dreams, hallucinatory and foreboding.

We live in a culture of Chinese whispers, a phantasmagoric world of lying murderous leaders, self deluded followers and manipulative propaganda from all sides. Try as we might, it is impossible to discern the original truth simply by studying the latest insanity, only knowledge of history gives you a thread through the maze.

Looking at our paintings I felt that unintentionally we had created a type of visual Chinese whisper, a cross-generational collaborative work of interpretation and misinterpretation symbolizing that dilemma.

But of course the problem with Chinese whispers is that by the end almost any interpretation is possible, we see whatever we wish to see, we believe whatever we wish to believe.

Ian Milliss
July 2005


* The slogans of the Party on the walls of the Ministry of Truth, from Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Orwell’s hero Winston works in the Ministry of Truth doctoring historical records in order to comply with the Party's version of the past. Since the perception of the past is constantly shaped by the events of the present, the task is a never-ending one.

Cool eh?
punchy, pertinent, political.
think you wanna see it?
It arrived in my inbox from the type of email address that made me think it was some sort of SPAM.

But the text had me hooked. I wanted to find out more.
This was all there was.

Chinese Whispers

an exhibition at Slot Gallery by Adrian Feint, Norma Cherry, Ian Milliss, Guo Jian

A bunch of flowers transformed as it passes from artist to artist, an exhibition of interpretation, misinterpretation, appropriation, misappropriation, subtraction, addition, understanding, misunderstanding, truths, untruths, and more. As my mother said “You should paint flowers, people always like flowers”.

No gallery address. No temporal details.
obejaysus (sorry benn reading a bit of ulysses lately)

Fortunately - there were a couple of image files attached.

And the images were......bloody dreadful.
they belong in cyberspace

Diary Entries - end of august

Are There Bored People in Sydney?
Is there anyone who lolls around the house wondering what to do?
they probably don't have internet access - and hence don't spend half their lives trying to clear their email inbox or update their blog.
So - if you've had your electricity cut off and can't watch telly or enjoy your home.
Or your cat/dog died
Or you're recently single
or you are a fine connossieur of cutting edge contemporary visual culture then note the following in your diary:

(I recommend buying a red zone travel weekly. DOn't drink & Drive - and try to reduce the global warming - this Brisbane winter is getting uncanny).

tonight (tuesday)
you missed the KUDOS opening - You have until saturday to see the curent show. or you could blink and miss it.

You also missed 2 openings at Legge Gallery (183 Regent Street Redfern) but you have until September 3 to wander in and see the work.

James Rogers is a former man of steel who has undergone a sea change (or whatever the equivalent is in Walcha) - to start making softer compositions of painted wooden discs and rods. This body of work follows on from a previous show of paintings of circles. (What?) This is where I get to use the conry line of "I dunno much about abstract art but I know what I like"
I got the impression from a long hard stare at the circles, whihc bore into my brain at the upstairs gallery that the crcles were a conduit for his preoccupation with the plane play of push and pull. (an addictive painters obsession of "if I put that colour next to that shape - what bit comes forward and what bit recedes - and then what if it is this hape or that shape....... and how can I make space with colour"?????).

Rogers' work over the past 2 years has taken this painterly concern back into sculpture - with his constructions of angled discs forming an evocative play of light and space with the 'ground' of the space around them. Syncopated Beach is a nice title for a body of works that reminded me of the time I sat on bombo beach eating a biscuit......

I hope he's donwstairs because Evan Salmon's big grey paintings of figther planes are a bit off putting for someone in a meditative frame of mind. If anyone reading this knows Damien Nugent or is passing the Green Park diner - tell him to go down to Legge - to cop an eyeball of err.. big grey fighter planes.


Craig Waddell's solo show opens at MAry Place Gallery. Its a little 2 story artists' hire space in Paddo - just behind the scarey strip of Glenmore Road. You can duck in behind dirty nelly's or "token oyrish pb inc" at top of Glenmore near okker street - and wander past the nice carports. Or you can head up Brown Street. I think it is Number 6.

We chatted about this on air. Craig is a fellow alumni and very much a painters painter. "Extreme sports painterly" with lots of gelato colours and drippy, swirly chunky gestures all nealty fattened out with the right amount of gel medium to ward off any fear of snot like crusts in the future. I think I'm meant to imply something edifying by the experience of looking at sensuous abstractly landscapes, but I won't. If you want to know why painters paint with oil and not acrylic - go and sniff the magic.

Braced from Mary Place - you could wander down the less scary end of Glenmore and chekc out Steve Lopez opening at Brian Moore (just past 5 ways). I'm not sure about the invite image. Maybe the wine is good.

Otherwise you could go and support those poor meadowbank students - who are having a graduation show at GLobal Gallery on COmber Street. I think I'll be sued if I explain my pity factor - but I'm not casting any nasturtiums on the sydney gallery school, its students or teaching staff. Judging by the usual standards of meadowbank, the work should be ecelctic, considered and energetic and probably worth a more fitting space.........

Thursday there is something on but I'm going to hear Michael Taussig instead. He's not an artist but I do have some small life outside of the art world.

Friday - there is something REALLY interesting - hosted by Marrickville COuncil - so its at the Makko town hall (catch 426 bus) on makko road. Maybe I'm just obsessed with finland. and Alvin Aalto. (I've always wanted to know how a v-shaped roof would work in FINLAND).

anywa check out following:

Liisa Roberts
2006 Biennale of Sydney Artist
Screening excerpts from her work 'What's the Time in Vyborg?'
(2000-2004) Marrickville Library
Marrickville Town Hall
Cnr Marrickville and Petersham Roads
Friday 19 August from 5-6.30pm


For the next month Liisa Roberts, an international artist from
Helsinki, is based at the Artist Residency at Petersham Town Hall, courtesy of
Marrickville Council.

Liisa Roberts has been selected for the 2006 Biennale of Sydney from 8
June to 27 August 2006, and is undertaking preliminary research to
develop work for the exhibition.

Since the early 1990s, Liisa Roberts has exhibited internationally,
including group exhibitions at Artists Space, New York; Helsinki
Kunsthalle and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland.

Liisa is also a filmmaker. She will screen excerpts from her work
What's the Time in Vyborg? (2000 - 2004), which was inspired by the
restoration of the Alvar Aatlo Library, Vyborg, at the Marrickville Library on
Friday 19 August from 5-6.30pm. Liisa will introduce the film, and be
available to answer questions.
Saturday - is probably going to be one of those sunny days ideal ofr an art stroll. Check out the art & desgin wshow at dockerty for some good taste, then wander around the corner for the Erwin Olaf show and have a hurl at the creepy gory royalty. Or troll donw to Agnes Wales and get edified by MArgaret Preston, or Powerhouse and William Morris.

Actually there is some big symposium thing on at Powerhouse on satrudya arvo combined with the William Morris show. It ain't free - but hell - think of the money you've saved on wine and or movie tickets with all the art openings you can go to for free?

On the other hand you culd wander down to the Cross Arts Project. there's somehting informative amazing and FREE on at the same time.

Miniature paintings of Afghanistan, Australia and Iraq
With Chireh, vernacular drawings by H. A. Wakil Zadhah and family of Herat

The Cross Art Projects warmly invites you to the opening of work by A. Karim Rahimi, a master of Afghani miniature painting, now resident of Sydney and Elizabeth Ashburn, a Sydney avant-garde artist who studied miniature painting under Rahimi.


BY DR ALISON BROINOWSKI, former Australian diplomat and author of The Third Try: Can the UN Work? (Scribe, Melbourne, October 2005).

At The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street Kings Cross Sydney 2011
(opposite St Luke’s hospital entry gates)

At Tusculum,
3 Manning Street, Potts Point

In aid of the artisans of Herat

Andrea Neild, Curator
By H.E. M. Saikal, Afghan Ambassador to Australia and architect
And John McInerney, Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Sydney

WHAT COMES AFTER WAR? ON VIEW to 3 September 2005
Tusculum installation and auction closes Saturday 20 August, 4PM



Traditional miniature painting is an unlikely form of war documentation in the age of embedded journalism, selective briefings and non-stop cable television. In this exhibition Ashburn and Rahimi question the human and cultural impact of the twenty-first century’s first imperial wars, seeking to return meaning to places of devastation. The Afghan war is widening, with growing anxiety that an Iraq-style conflict is developing.


The Cross Art Projects
A space for independent art & curatorial studies

33 Roslyn Street Kings Cross Sydney 2011
Wed–Sat 11–6
T: (02) 93572058

sunday sleep in.

monday listen to the show and then you can come and hit me in person at some QUEER ART SHOW. Its in the UTS tower so I have few excuses to miss it - even though Gay and Lesserbeing Art makes my bile rise just a bit, I'll drag my bilious eyeballs in with an open mind to prove myself wrong.

I also hope to prove myself wrong at KUDOS on tuesday night. I bagged the womyn word last week. Dissonance *might* be fully Deleuzian. Or like SHeila Jeffreys.

ON Monday I think I've got Ruark Lewis to come in and give his version of events in the art world.

I'm also hoping to get Zanny Begg in in a couple of weeks to plug the Disobedience show at Dockerty in September.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Eating My Hat

I've spent the weekend chewing ponderously on my hat.
Luckily for me its made from icing sugar.

It started with my rant about Tim Gregory's Dirty Laundry show at Kudos. I didnt like the PR and compared it to the worst excesses of Sydney Poets inc.

The day after publishing my insult - Benito De Fonzo met my Mum. He's going out with a(nother) friend. I still reckon "syphilitic urethra" deserves a caning. But it proves this city is just tooooo small sometimes.

Then someone posted a comment on my blog - saying I'd acted too rashly in condemning the dirty laundry show - and it contained some exquisite objects. Maybe it was the artist? or his mum? dunno.

I was relieved to hear my rash opines contradicted - and decded it was a great excuse to avoid the Raper Street Precinct. sorry Tim. Love your work! Love you - but I reckon the only big fat scarey beasties I wanna come near should be immobilised and monochrome - and I'm scared of polychrome mobile monolithic men with ties that match their soul.

so I trudged up okker street. Saw some nice stuff in I.D's. Margo Lewers was Australia's Sonia Delauney - and I wondered about the city and the old passages and arcades.

Out the front of Kudos there was a young pale male artist - looking scarily angsty. I grunted and pushed past the partition with "Dirty Laundry" adhesive writing. Felt relieved to see four partitions pushed together to make another square donut. Inside a nice narrative of small objects.

The bonk map scribbled on a fridge magnet, smoothly cast icing sugar mini bedcars, bullets, a large tablet wiht a map of the world in tea. Nicely titled, nicely arranged little haunting moments of angst. A c-type of a REALLY UGLY bed. I thought of my own emotional disatsters and fessed up.

The artists said he was into playing with people's perceptions and text. I felt myself falling into a large Griselda Pollock shaped Trompe L'oiel.

but wait.
I still reckon there is a space to fess up to how we describe out work - without pranking it off. To own the possible mirecognition, misunderstandings that arise from personal work - just because people have different life experiences.

and I think scary sloppy PR needs to be named as such.

so I wandered down the hill. And thought about droping in to Cross arts - coz it's an interesting space -with nice shows and a great library.
but the blue water beckoned - so I headed for he point and donw the hill - to PIE LAND!!!

Ahhhh artspace. What could top Sastre?

Well nothing. And the collabroative residency work by 4 female chilean artists was many shades softer than Barney the dinosaur.
Ximena zomosa had some nice hair - on some rococo wallpaper, - which all lined a rearranged "dungeon room" (the one closest to the servo) . SHe had two enigmatic speakers saying some stuff in spanish and english - but my bilinguiality failed me and I forgot waht it was.

Monica bengoa had probably the highlight of the show - which was a sample case of exquisite tapestry and photographed images of fruit. At first I thoguht they were indigenous americas fruit. But then I saw cabbage. Not sure what that was about.

Claudia Missana had a video with text about bodies washing up on shore - interspersed with projections of waves on rocks - flashed over floruo tape drawing. the subject matter was moving - but I'm not sure how many epople would 'get' the mulptiple references in the piece to Chile's history (bodies at sea being those of torture vbvictims dumped in 1974) as well as Australia's shame - the TAMPA scandal 3 years ago. This has all been overridden by the Tsunami. Maybe I shouldn't be so cynical. I was moved.

Paz Carvajal - probably left me the coldest - with a bunch of jigsaws spelling out a text. one idea taken too far........

I also read the highlight of pratty writing for the week which was:

"these projects will be tensioned in a staging privileging the conceptual and technical grazes among the works and the specific nature of the Australian context."

all of the above is worse than 50 sublimes put together.

a close second in words I don't wanna read has become "hybridity".
My cynicism towards this was impelled by my having to teach it to art theory students. (It's artspeak for "mixture")
This is quite unfortunate.

A friend of mine has just put a new link on their website called "the Hybrid Project".
Its kind of apt. It is a hybrid project. He's collaborated on some sculptures with his partner. (Hybrid = mixing two things and getting something new).
the pieces are a painters panty wetting dream. big gloopy paint monsters. and other funny things. onyas. pity aobut the poor lighitng for the photos. (everything is a little hazy).
check it out:

This week - was the 2SER radiothon and all volunteers were strongly encouraged to come up with new ways to encourage people to sign up to the station. This is all much more pertinent than in the past - because the universities have now withdrawn their funding (2SER - was initially funded as a training project for communication students at UTs and maquarie). The good news - is that there are les work experience announcers on air (thinking of some of the people I know who've studied media - being on radio makes me shudder). the bad news is the station needs volunteer cash support. Even more so - as some of the indymusic money has been diverted to fbi.

OK so my idea was to offer free bananas to whoever subscribed during monday overdrive. We got 11 punters. then I said I'd chuck in a vulva. then the phones stopped dead. bugger!

Anyway - I will be wandering around at mori gallery on wednesday night with a bunch of bananas. If you subscribed to 2SER during monday overdrive - then come up and tell me your name - and I'll give you a banana!

first draft also has an opening on wednesday night - but I'll be at Mori - coz my friend is in the show.

tomorrow night - there's a show opening at the UTS gallery..........Its called Making Silence. the photo made me yawn - but it should be easier to get to than SCA - who has Yuko Mamada showing in a thing called "artificial NAture". I like the spaces there- just not the bus trips and long wander through the park in the dark. Great if you cycle tho.

Apart from that I think this weeks cultural challenge involves catching all the shows that opened last week: TRacey Moffatt, Tim Kyle & James Powditch, Simon & Kypros at MOP, oh GOD - and these really WEIRD really Creepy drawings at Mura Clay gallery. the show is called "Darwins Nightmare" and it does really earn the epithet "hybrid".

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Six Years Out - Showing Now

If I can wear a twat on my head, pluck my eyebriows and wear a g-string in public
I can probably describe my own show here.

wearing two hats is sometimes difficult.

I finished art school in 1999. I went to east sydney now national art school)- and majored in painting - but tried to do the least painting possible -preferring to undertake perfomrance art, typewritten manifestos and studio installations in a space where it still seemed novel. (plus if got a BFA with no HECS!!!)

Art school is art and leaving art school is hard. And its hard when people tell you repeatedly that most art school graduates will stop withihn the first 5 years and won't ever start again. I've found the predictions not as dire as I thought. Lots of people did further study, but many didn't. quite a few of my classmates are still trucking on. Even more successful ones are hardly rolling in it. Lots of us have returned to former jobs, or found crappy ones to pay for paint, studio, housing. Most artists accept to have 2 careers and just try to keep on going.

My second job - is at present to write about art - I'm doing a course of scholarhsip funded study. I initially had messianic visions of intervening into art writing/art history/art theory. I thought that since most art writing was unreadable - that I should give it a go. then I realised - that most art writing is unreadable - hence I don't read it - and If I dont read it then who the hell does????- I have no idea how to intervene in most of the existing academic art journals. I HATe PSYHCOANALYTICAL THEORY (this is a bit like living in Byron and not believing in Astrology). and I really can't see the point of using obfuscating language - when trying to describe somehting visual. Art writing is probably a dying field anyway. Bugger.

I digress. Its hard to be a critic about work that is close to me. Yet that is what makes this work critical. In the work of my 'peers', or my friends and colloeagues, I see my own emotional err.... cultural (?) survival. I believe that there has to space for this work to exist. My work, my firends work. Just slow sloppy shabby work that ain't amaneable to the latest art market or design edge spin. The right to paint IS the right to paint badly.

so , am I a bad painter?
My works are bright, colourful, courageous and fun. They show an important and moving topic in a really interesting and imaginative way. (go upstairs) They are also works completed "on the hop" - squeezed in between my research, writing, teaching, and rest of a life.
I just wish I had more time, more layers, more subtlety.

As for my colleagues? for this show?
Anna Wheeler's paintings taught me how to see and use colour. Her works - of FARM animals and harlequins - may seem twee - but like any subject - they are the excuse for the paint. the paint is where the real subject is. She makes oil sing.

Anthony Connolly is one of the sweetest men I or most people have ever met. His combinations of bodies squashed into buildings are quite frankly deeply disturbing. his use of paint - is really chunky and delicious - and he delicately slides away from the mud school .

Natalie McCarthy's works are great, very very good use of colour. Her works are tonally defined rather than through colour. (that means she uses tonal variations to sugest plane and space.) She works wiht smilary subdued palette to Sharon Whittle (another peer - wiht some drawings opening at Mori next week). I am not only in favour of loud screamers of paintings - I lke soft singers as well. Nat uses more colours. Nice reds. Wish she did more.

Peter Yates - was always known at NAS as COFA Pete. I think he and I should have swapped institutions. He's come out of the wildenress of post conceptual wranglings - to get a nice technique as a tonal painter. his stuff is claricey bekketty type views of dim newtown scenes. I don't totally hate grey - especially when its tempered with a bit of orange.

Damien Nugent won the waverly prize for drawing last year with his ink drawings of judges and QC's. He's been too busy playing pool and writing long stories of the Green Park pool comp to paint, but we all like his drawings and his sense of humour. He converted the entire art school to Johnny Cash.

So this is a kind of breather show - not a retrospective - but a "look what we are up to now". We made a point of not putting a heap of thumbnails on the invite and used a "album cover concept" photo. this was Damians idea. The man is a genius.

anyway - If anyone reckons my art is shit - you are invited to submit alternative reviews to monday overdrive on 2SER. I still reckon its worth a gander

show opens tuesdya 2nd aug (tomrrow night) at 6-8pm
Runs until sunday august 14th. (open wed-sun 11am-6m)
Venue is Addison Road Gallery, 142 Addison Road MArrickville

(Not far from SNO - the new thing in town)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Square Donuts and Mondayitis

After reading theartlife's rather nice plug of my blog - I decided to indulge in their dreaded idea of artists blogs. (I did a bit of painting today......)

(Hey! I didn't know thats what artists write like!)

he he - you've been warned.

I had a rather strange day today. Last night I washed off my fake tan - but my eyebrows are still recovering from the treatment I gave them on the weekend in preparation for a "Schapelle Corby" outfit I was doing (yeah - I piked out of being sublime or shit - but me in a fake tan, whig, g-string and micro mini was pretty damn brave i reckon....)

this morning - I arranged interviews for my research (I'm looking for current or former artists models - so drop me a line) - ONe of the subjects - said she had a found a gallery that she reckoned was just right for me. she told me the name. I can't repeat it here. (It's one of those eternally new places on Glenmore Road) I GROANED A LOT. I had no words for the horror. So I tidied up and and sent off some abstracts for an academic conference at the end of the year. Then realised that an article I'd paintstakingly edited and sent off for some publication was rejected. Hell it wasn't even refereed! (I thought of Alan Cholodenko - whose been rejected countless times and took heart). I also cropped and burnt some photos of my friend Anna Wheeler's work onto a CD for the Brett Whitely Scholarship. She's in the show I'm in and taught me heaps about colour - she's also a colourist - I love her work - its so brave and bold and honest - and so damn good to look at!

this took a few hours.
I rushed down to the Addison Road Gallery - where everyone was putting final touches to the group exhibition that opens tomorrow night. Its a group show by 6 people from art school - and we've been trying to develop some sort of evocative cohesion - between what are quite disparate works. Its taken 3 days - but its happening - finally. Not to dead, not too loud......

My rushing was impeded by g-string rash aquired on the weekend. I realise why the g-string above the skirt line fad was so brief. Hell it DOES give great definition to those love handles - but it also is a great temptation for drunken friends to keep yanking strings up to ones armpits.

(NOTE: Must do a medline abstract search on the conincidence of G-string fashions and increased incidence of haemorrhoids.)

This abject drivel - is just a warm up - for a strange email invitation that I just received - so please persist. I'm getting you in the mood for art!

Once at gallery - I tried to arrange my works - OK - then tried to use my dodgy carpentry skills to hammer in nails. Even though I was using a broken hammer - this only took about 3 goes for each painting. It think this was helped bythe walls being made from painted horizontal floorboards - and I could line each painting up with each bit.

My attempts to place screws into panels was much less successful. My erstwhile male colleagues were suitably unimpressed by my whimpering - and refused to play the butch hero role. My erstwhile female colleagues were out of the room. Measure. Re measure, calculate. Forget numbers. Try to gauge with eyes. Stuff it up - due to raving astigmatism. Try to hold tape measure straight. Fail due to raging lack of coordination skills. Evenutally run a bit of string at the right height. I'll stop. I was nervous coz some guy had just walked in to catch the show early. I'd had a curious dalliance with him in tender years of art school after WAYYYYYY too many drinks at an Arhcibald opening followed by WAYYYYYYY too many drinks at a private party held by Sir Les Patterson - where I think i met John Mcdonald. I don't remember much after dragging some lithe young creature into a taxi and passing out on my bed - but in the morning I woke up alone with a used condom. I spent the rest of the weekend thinking about the virgin mary and the angel gabriel and got over it. Anyway - the angel gabriel was back in the flesh today whingeing in the corner about the decline of op shops. No wonder I couldn't get my screws in. I feel compelled to do the Tracey Emin story coz of what I read in my inbox just before doing on air:

"You are invited to attend the opening of DIRTY LAUNDRY: or how I was
dumped for a rapist by Tim Gregory at Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St. Paddington.
This exhibition is the pus resulting from a bacterial infection found in the gap between performance and honesty in everyday existence. It asks us all to find our inner, aging, anorexic porn star. "

This second sentence sounds like a pretentious slaver composed by benito de fonzo in some post school boy drunken escapade.

this looked scarily tasteless, so I ignored it and didn't give it a plug. It also opens the same night as my show. Competition. Further reasons for choice ingoring - whihc is always more effective than bad publicity.

on the other hand I like most of the shows at KUDOS.
I also wanna support USU funded art - while it still exists.
since no Publicity is worse than Bad publicity - I'll do the latter.

I briefly popped into the square donut show at KUDOS last week - and was disappointed.
Four panels with some ."sculptural wall based misxed media pieces" inside - a krispy creme reference does not make. The "sculptural wall based mixed media pieces" looked like the products of someone raiding one of the Antique shops up the road - and getting into a bit of added value with some PVA. I hope I dont' sound to viscious. I liked the works. They looked nice They had interesting references. The gratuitous inclusion of antique furniture was ostentatious and unneccesary.

Lots of people were crammed in the centre of the 'donut' hole. this may have been because all the paintings around it were GREY. Well executed and must look nice in someones empty white flat, but I HATE GREY. Even 5 different hues of grey.
Grey would have been a bit transgressive back in the 80's when everyone was doing those big primary expressionistic post basquiatty things - but in the dreary noughties - someone's gotta say no more. its me. the artists probably can't help themselves. On the other hand they might be a superficial wanker who was doing those big primary expressionistic post basquiatty things 20 years ago. I'll wait and see. the shows over so you'll never know unoless you were there.

As for the new show - where the hell is Hakim Bey when you need him? "Intellectual S/M Is the Fascism of the Eighties--The Avant-Garde Eats Shit and Likes It"
(check out:

I think i did some random rant on artichoke last year after a (Ha Ha HaAAAAAAAAH so FUNYY!!!) slasher video satire at the SCA graduands show.

The right to be ironic about certain topics has to be earnt and I'm sick of women's bodies bieng the whipping boy for everyone's feelings of alienation, cynicism, boredom, frustration , humour.
why can't peple use ferrets?

20 year old straight white boys trying to be a bit outrageous don't cut the mustard.

As I typed the above line my lips pursed into a perfect feline anus and I had to suck them out again with the vacuum cleaner. I'll try to articulate my feelings in a more interesting way.

Extreme awkwardness. Like the eddie bearup scandal - or some white guy doing dot paiting coz they are spiritual - appropriating the pain of others is difficult, problematic and cringe worthy.

As much as 20 year old art school graduates are pathetic in their attempts to appropriate the world - it's probably better that they give it ago - than stick to explaining and glamorizing their own vanity.

Making art is largely about failing - and making failures and mistakes. In a lifetime of producing crap - its always hard to know how much of ones failure should be inflicted on the public. I just slammed someone's grey paitnings - largely on a superfiical whim - whihc would probably be challenged if I met the artist and aksed them about the work - or didn'tn walk into the tail end of an opening strewn with drunken plastics (people and cups).

I spent a lot of this year, working on a series of transcriptions of images of Abu ghraib. I did it - because I couldn't stop staring at the images - and I tend to draw what I like to look at and the images took me into a strange zone of ambiguity - as I confronted my own aestheticizing of horror. Studio visitors - liked them. My friends asked me to put them in our show. I said no. Because I beleive that pain, and especially the pain of others needs its own space. The right space. In painting the images - I AM appropriating the pain of others, and stories which I don't really own - but am inevitably involved in. That's why I paint them. But the choice of showing work, in the right context is almost as important as the work itself - and is a challenge of resolution........... I really think it is OK to be serious and scared about some images - and step back from cute slick posturing - I think this kind of thing is what keeps art interesting - certainly more so than shocking advertising.

Anyway - I doubt if most art school boys - come anywhere near the type of angst in using images of women in the same way - either in their beds or in their work. Gender has that ghastly cawl of proximity - women are no more 'other' to men that men are to women - but it would be nice to think that men can take a bit of distance form their own infantile urges and explore some imaginative empathy. However before I descend into a mysandrist diatribe - I'd like to suggest something a bit more constructive and imaginative.

Jasmine Hearst did irony well. And still does. Stephen Mori has a bunch of her t-shirts on sale. try wearing one into sega world.

I could be pleasantly surprised by Tim Gregorys work. Maybe he's cool. Maybe he's queer. Maybe his show has a GREAt plot for soap opera - but golly gosh such thin ice.